The weekly Torah portion of Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

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Paro enslaved Yisrael but they kept the good land — was that normal?

When Yisrael come to Mitzrayim Paro gives them the choice land of Goshen. Later another paro enslaves them but apparently lets them keep the good land, because they're still there during the plagues. ...
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1answer
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Why did Yosef cause so much anguish to his family?

While this question already seems to assume some answer or another (that of a 'deeper purpose'), I thought it strange that nobody has actually asked this question so far: Yosef recognized his ...
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Why does the Torah specify only that Lea'h's children were born in Padan Aram?

Breishit 46:15 states that "These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore unto Jacob in Paddan-aram..." What is the significance of the Torah telling us where the children were born, and why does it ...
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1answer
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What didn't Ya'akov believe when his sons told him that Yosef was alive?

Bresihit 45:26 says that when Ya'akov's sons returned from Egypt (the 2nd time) they say, "Yoseph is alive and he is ruling over Egypt"; the end of the verse says that Ya'akov didn't believe them. ...
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The brothers telling Yosef about Yosef

Rashi to Miketz (Bereishit 42:13-14) says that the brothers told Yosef that they came to Egypt to look for their missing brother. However, in Vayigash (Bereishit 44:20) Yehudah tells Yosef that they ...
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2answers
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Do any commentaries explain the charade that Yosef put the brothers through as done with bad intention?

It seems that over the last few hundred years all the commentators that have written on the subject, and all the darshanim I hear talking about it, take for granted that the entire episode concerning ...
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Zohar, Yaakov and Eyes

Someone told to me that the Zohar mentions that we close the eyes of the deceased, because the texture, colors and shapes of this world are in our eyes. However, in order to allow the deceased to see ...
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1answer
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Who was Shaul ben HaCanaanie?

In Bereshis 46:10 among the sons of Shimon there is listed one וְשָׁאוּל, בֶּן-הַכְּנַעֲנִית. I have seen various explanations for who this person is. He is the son of Shimon and Dina. He is ...
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Poti-phera's Title/Job Description

Genesis 41:45 JPS And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt. ...
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What is the earliest source of the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp?

This post indicates that the earliest source for the story of Serach bas Asher and the harp, wherein she notified Yakov that Yosef was still alive in a very subtle musical fashion, is a very late ...
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Why did Yosef cry about the future destruction of the Batei HaMikdash at that particular moment?

After Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, he fell upon Binyamin's neck and wept, and Rashi comments there that he was weeping about the future destruction of the two Batei HaMikdash. But why did ...
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What happened to Canaan during the famine after Yaakov et al went down to Egypt?

During the famine Yosef collected all the money in both Egypt and Canaan. In the following year Yosef acquired ownership of all the land in Egypt (except the priests') for Paro, but it says nothing ...
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3answers
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Source of Midrash regarding Yaakov's saying Shema

There is a famous Rashi in Parashat Vayigash (46:29) where Rashi explains that Yaakov didn't cry on Yosef's shoulders because he was reciting Shema. He cryptically quotes this in the name of ...
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Learning b'iyun vs. b'qius

When I was in yeshiva, I heard a story that I wouldn't mind having verified. Apparantly, two individuals once argued over whether b'iyun (בעיון; "in-depth", commentary-focused) learning or b'qius ...
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Famine in Egypt

Question: How can there be a famine in egypt? Parshas Miketz and Vayigash discuss a famine in Egypt and the world. Rashi's comments to Eikev 11:10 imply that the Nile's annual flooding was critical ...
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6answers
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How did Yosef showing his circumcision prove anything?

Rashi to 45:4 says that when Yosef told his brothers to approach him, it was to show them his circumcision (presumably to prove he was Jewish). But how would that prove anything? All of Egypt had been ...
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2answers
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Goshen, the most immoral part of Mitzrayim

Rashi on Vayikra 18:3 says (as understood by the Mizrachi) that the most immoral part of Mitzrayim was Goshen, where the Jews had settled — indeed, according to B'reshis 45:10, Yosef chose it as ...
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4answers
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Unusual number of males among the 70 who went to Egypt

B'reshis chapter 46 lists the seventy descendants of Yaakov who went to Egypt. It actually lists sixty-nine: let's assume Yocheved was the seventieth, as Rashi explains. It also lists (in pasuk 12) ...
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1answer
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Seeking source of explanation of ולא יכל יוסף להתאפק

וְלֹא יָכֹל יוֹסֵף לְהִתְאַפֵּק — Yosef could not forbear (Gen. 45:1) — but had he done so, had he completed the brothers' reconciliation that he had started, then the kingdom would ...
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Questions about the Beginning of Vayechi

My Torah Tidbits this shabbat told me that Vayigash is the only Parsha in the Torah to end before a "paragraph break". (Is this true?) This got me to look more closely at the beginning of Vayechi, ...
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If shepherds are taboo to Egyptians, what do we make of them having sheep themselves?

Yosef tells his family to say they're shepherds because that's taboo to Egypt: you must say, 'We and our fathers have dealt in livestock all our lives'. You will then be able to settle in the ...
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1answer
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Was Binyamin aware of Tzofnas Paaneach (aka Yosef)'s true identity?

While Yosef recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. I heard a Rosh Yeshiva suggest that Binyamin, who wasn't so absorbed in the soap opera, was able to recognize Yosef, but played ...
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8answers
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Why Didn't Yosef tell Yaakov He was Still Alive?

What do the meforshim say on why Yosef didn't tell Yaakov he was still alive? Do any critique him?
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Understanding Rashi's resolution of an ambiguity in Parashat Vayigash

The following is based on a question I wrote in the margin of my chumash about ten years ago. In Yehuda's speech to the Egyptian viceroy (Yosef in disguise) at the beginning of Parashat Vayigash, he ...